As much as I wanted to see another spectacular explosion from the North of the Atlantic thankfully the Bardabunga (Bárðarbunga) volcano hasn't been so violent as to keep flights grounded. This means that after a couple of weeks of contingency planning around a potential big boom, this morning Swedish composer Emil Råberg landed in Iceland to undertake his residency with the South Iceland Chamber Choir under the wing of the ever-creative Hilmar Örn Agnarsson as part of Collaborative Compositions 2014.
Having delivered performances at Salisbury Festival and started the working relationship between Emil and the Choir at the Umeå International Choral Festival (as part of the EU Capital of Culture 2014) he's now developing new works for the singers on (their somewhat dramatic) home turf.
We're running the residency in the same format that British composer Jack White helped us devise and develop last year with the Choir - which led to his amazing work Islands (Ynysoedd) which you can her over on his project page. The process allows the composer to undertake a focussed and highly productive time with host ensembles who also introduce their visitor to their surrounding cultural scene - actively trying to cross the normal boundaries of creative disciplines.
Emil's going to be in Iceland for the next week developing a close working relationship with the SICC and getting the know the cultural scene both in Reykjavik and across the Suðurland region where the choir hail from. An exciting time for all involved it's just the start of a major programme of activity that will see us delivering at least 9 new commissions over the next 30 months under the umbrella project Moving Classics - funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union, Nordic Culture Point and Arts Council England.
We'll be releasing details of new opportunities for composers from across Europe to apply for residencies in Iceland, Norway and the UK before Christmas, as well as unveiling a new major project opening up new trans-national opportunities for anyone involved in New Music.
Meanwhile...here's the Bardabunga live stream - if things liven up we'll be taking bets on how long Emil may be in Iceland for later in the week: